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Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary

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Wandering Signifier: Rhetoric of Jewishness in the Latin American Imaginary Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

While Jews figure in the work of many modern Latin American writers, the questions of how and to what end they are represented have received remarkably little critical attention. Helping to correct this imbalance, Erin Graff Zivin traces the symbolic presence of Jews and Jewishness in late-nineteenth- through late-twentieth-century literary works from Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Ultimately, Graff Zivin’s investigation of representations of Jewishness reveals a broader, more complex anxiety surrounding difference in modern Latin American culture.

In her readings of Spanish American and Brazilian fiction, Graff Zivin highlights inventions of Jewishness in which the concept is constructed as a rhetorical device. She argues that Jewishness functions as a wandering signifier that while not wholly empty, can be infused with meaning based on the demands of the textual project in question. Just as Jews in Latin America possess distinct histories relative to their European and North American counterparts, they also occupy different symbolic spaces in the cultural landscape. Graff Zivin suggests that in Latin American fiction, anxiety, desire, paranoia, attraction, and repulsion toward Jewishness are always either in tension with or representative of larger attitudes toward otherness, whether racial, sexual, religious, national, economic, or metaphysical. She concludes The Wandering Signifier with an inquiry into whether it is possible to ethically represent the other within the literary text, or whether the act of representation necessarily involves the objectification of the other.

Synopsis:

Explores the symbolic presence of "Jews or Jewishness" in modern Latin American literature.

About the Author

Erin Graff Zivin is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the editor of The Ethics of Latin American Criticism: Reading Otherwise.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: "Jewishness," Alterity, and the Ethics of Representation 1

1. Diagnosing "Jewishness" 29

2. The Scene of the Transaction 74

3. Textual Conversations 119

4. The Limits of Representation 154

Notes 179

Bibliography 195

Index 207

Product Details

ISBN:
9780822343677
Author:
Graff Zivin, Erin
Publisher:
Duke University Press
Author:
Zivin, Erin Graff
Subject:
Latin american literature
Subject:
Jews in literature
Subject:
Caribbean & Latin American
Subject:
Semiotics & Theory
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
Latin American literature -- 20th century.
Subject:
Central & South American
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20081231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
240
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Religion » Judaism » History
Religion » Judaism » Jewish History

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Product details 240 pages Duke University Press - English 9780822343677 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Explores the symbolic presence of "Jews or Jewishness" in modern Latin American literature.
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